Dwyane Wade gets poked in the eye by referee, then flops (VIDEO)


Dwyane Wade has a bit of a reputation as being one of the league’s more consistent floppers.

It’s so well-known that a kid asked him about it at his basketball camp over the summer, and Wade was fined for a flop as recently as this past June for his actions against Manu Ginobili in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

It’s not surprising, then, that Wade seemed to exaggerate the contact he received from an official in Tuesday night’s win over the Nets.

[via Larry Brown Sports]

Blazers’ Robin Lopez fractures hand, will be out “a while”


It was one of those fluke plays that seems innocent enough, Portland’s Robin Lopez was going up for a rebound and his hand hit the back of Boris Diaw’s head.

It turned out not to be that innocent — Lopez suffered two fractures in his hand on the play, coach Terry Stotts said after the game, as reported by Peter Socotch of CSNNW.com.

Lopez remained in the game for a couple of minutes after the injury occurred, not using his right hand, all the while gripping his wrist. Once a timeout was called, Trail Blazers trainer Geoff Clark ushered the Trail Blazers big man to the locker room and did not return.

Coach Stotts said that Lopez will be out “a while….”

“We don’t know much right now,” Lopez said after the game with his right hand perched upwards on the arm rest at his seat in front of his locker. “I’m going to get re-evaluated [Tuesday] morning.”

Lopez provides a solid 9.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game, he’s fairly efficient and an anchor in the paint for Portland’s improved defense this season. Portland is 5.4 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court this season.

This will mean more minutes for Chris Kaman while Lopez is out, with Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland getting a little more run as well.

PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: It’s the Warriors world


If you’ve been wondering “when do the Western Conference powers start beating up each other?” the answer is pretty much now. As we head into the Christmas day slate of games things will get interesting, but for now the top remains the same as Golden State is just winning and winning and winning.

source:  1. Warriors (21-2, Last Week No. 1). When Andrew Bogut was out we quickly saw how much he meant to this team — the rim protection on defense was not nearly the same, and equally important his passing on offense that helps them move the ball strong to weak quickly was gone. For about a half. By the time Golden State rolled into Dallas Saturday they were again a force again in an impressive win. Still, Bogut is key for them come the playoffs, best to get him fully healthy now.

source:  2. Rockets (18-5, LW 3). The Rockets were 8-3 with Dwight Howard out (surprisingly Rockets had fifth best defense in league in last 10 without Howard) and in that time James Harden averaged 29.1 points a game, shot 39 percent from three, dished out 6.1 assist and pulled down 6 rebounds a game. James Harden is playing like an MVP, and that didn’t change on Howard’s return when Harden dropped a triple double Saturday.

source:  3. Grizzlies (19-4, LW 6) I only moved them up to third because while they beat Charlotte and Philadelphia they didn’t exactly look good doing it. This coming week is different, win these games any way you can and you move up: Warriors, Spurs, Bulls and Cavaliers.

source:  4. Trail Blazers (18-6. LW 4). They have a top 10 offense, a top 10 defense, they look like they can beat anybody, but they also are fully capable of mailing it in and losing to Minnesota. Tough stretch coming up with the Spurs twice this week, plus the Rockets and Thunder on the road to start next week.

source:  5. Spurs (17-7, LW 2). That loss to the Lakers was the kind of game which leads to the :45 second, angry Gregg Popovich press conference. What should make him feel better — not happy, Popovich is never happy — is the return of Tiago Splitter to the lineup. Splitter even started on Sunday night. That should improve their defense.

source:  6. Clippers (16-7, LW 5). Doc Rivers said the key to Chris Paul’s improved shooting this season is he is taking the first good, open look he gets. “That’s what we need him to do, take the open shot. I jokingly tell him, the option you are looking for is you. When you’re coming wide open off the pick and roll, he’ll do it tonight at least once or twice, he’ll look around and I’ll be ‘what is the better option than right now.’ And he’s doing it.”

source:  7. Mavericks (17-8, LW 7). They are 0-6 vs. Western Conference playoff teams and 17-2 vs. everyone else. That can’t make Mark Cuban comfortable. Chandler Parsons isn’t comfortable due to lower back soreness, he missed one game and could miss more.

source:  8. Cavaliers (13-9 LW 8). Has LeBron James lost some bounce this season? Probably, he’s not as aggressive going to the rim. But his playmaking skills and his desire to use them with his new teammates is part of the reason he’s not attacking as much. Also, there’s just not the space in the Cavs offense yet that there was in Miami.

source:  9. Raptors (18-6, LW 7). Kyle Lowry must make the All-Star team in the East. I know the point guard spot is loaded (Irving, Rose, Wall) but Lowry is simply playing too well (PER of 23.2, as a snapshot) to be ignored.

source:  10. Bulls (15-8, LW 12). Derrick Rose is getting his points a little differently (that floater is a weapon) but he’s starting to get them again and that’s good news in Chicago. The best sign of a title contender is a top 5 offense and defense (in terms of efficiency), the Bulls have that.

source:  11. Wizards (17-6, LW 11). Quality win over the Clippers last week, showing on the right night this team can beat anyone. Consistency is always the question, they had down games against Boston and Orlando. Still, they won those two and eight of their last nine.

source:  12. Hawks (16-7, LW 10). It wasn’t pretty when their winning streak was snapped by the Magic. The Hawks have played the easiest schedule in the NBA so far but that is about to change: Bulls, Cavaliers (twice), Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers, and Bucks (twice) make up the next eight games.

source:  13. Thunder (11-13, LW 18). Winners of five in a row and eight of nine, they could be the eight seed inside a week as after the top seven in the West things have fallen off. On Tuesday Kevin Durant should get to 15,000 points in his career, second youngest to do it behind LeBron.

source:  14. Bucks (12-12, LW 15). Maybe the most entertaining team in the league and also one of its biggest surprises at .500 and in the playoffs in the East. What’s been impressive is the quality play Jason Kidd is getting out of his bench, which is not flush with big names.

source:  15. Pelicans (11-12, LW 16). They got great guard play Sunday night from Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans but this team needs Anthony Davis back in the lineup (chest contusion) if they are going to start winning more consistently.

source:  16. Kings (11-13, LW 14). Ownership wants to play faster (more Spurs-like) and Tyrone Corbin is going to oblige now that Mike Malone has been fired. One problem: This roster really isn’t built to play faster or move the ball like the Spurs. DeMarcus Cousins is a halfcourt guy (Team USA tried to get him to run more with limited success) but at least he can pass, their starting two guard doesn’t have the handles or the passing skills, Rudy Gay’s legs aren’t as young as they once were and he’s a volume scorer, and there’s just not enough overall athleticism. We’ll see how this strategy goes.

source:  17. Suns (12-13, LW 13). P.J. Tucker was given some starts for defensive reasons and nightly he gets the toughest opponent assignments — he had DeMarcus Cousins against the Kings, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin against the Clippers. That’s versatility. His defense hasn’t helped much as they have lost five in a row and are falling fast down the Western Conference standings.

source:  18. Nuggets (10-14, LW 17). JaVale McGee is going to be out for months, just another of the guys they would normally have in their rotation who are banged up (that’s five now). This team is still dangerous, however. Just ask the Raptors.

source:  19. Nets (10-12, LW 21). They have been beating up lottery bound teams but are struggling with any team looking like a playoff squad. Which could be trouble this week against Miami, Toronto and Cleveland.

source:  20. Heat (11-13, LW 19). Josh McRoberts is out for a while and that is a blow to Miami on both ends of the floor — the team’s defense has struggled all season but the offense has become disjointed in recent weeks. Chris Bosh missing time doesn’t help.

source:  21. Magic (10-16, LW 23). There are a number of holes in Tobias Harris’ game, but if you need a game-winning play he should be in your top 10 because the guy just gets buckets in the clutch. The Hawks learned that the hard way.

source:  22. Lakers (8-16, LW 24). They get to keep their first round pick in the next draft if it is top five, they keep their second round pick if it is in the first 10 of the second round. The Lakers picked up a trio of nice wins this week — including an upset of the Spurs — and currently they sit tied for eighth worst record. Magic isn’t only Lakers fan rooting for losses.

source:  23. Celtics (7-14, LW 20). Rajon Rondo is dropping triple-doubles (three this season) but has been sat at the end of games as well. All of that has to be viewed through the prism of free agency/trades — do the Celtics need to move him so they don’t get nothing when he walks?

source:  24. Pacers (7-17, LW 23). They have Roy Hibbert and David West back in the lineup but it hasn’t mattered against a string of tough competition. The Pacers have lost eight in a row and are about to face a series of games against the deeper West, much of it on the road.

source:  25. Hornets (6-17, LW 25). Jeff Taylor can come back from his suspension due to domestic violence this week, which could make it easier on Charlotte if they can find someone to take on Lance Stephenson. Also, more Michael Kidd-Gilchrist please.

source:  26. Timberwolves (5-18, LW 26). Kobe Bryant said he saw himself 17 years ago in Andrew Wiggins. That’s high praise. But what Kobe came in the league with was a chip on his shoulder, a crazy work ethic, and a drive to prove himself every night. Does Wiggins?

source:  27. Jazz (6-17, LW 27). If you’re a Jazz fan your hope stems from the flashes you see from this team, like the win over San Antonio. They have moments but like a lot of young teams they simply are not consistent. Yet.

source:  28. Pistons (5-19, LW 29). Surprising wins over Phoenix and Sacramento on the road to end their losing streak. Now they have Jodie Meeks back in the rotation and once he shakes the rust off he will really help their outside shooting and spacing. Things they desperately need.

source:  29. Knicks (5-21, LW 28). With the New York media feeding a storm around this team — “they don’t like each other or the triangle” — they snapped their 10-game losing streak. But next week will be rough with Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix and Toronto.

source:  30. 76ers (2-21, LW 30). They are playing hard — they were up 18 on Memphis in the fourth — but are learning the hard way about closing out victories. Right now it’s about seeing what players can be part of the future, and K.J. McDaniels and Robert Covington can be.

Carmelo Anthony to play, start vs. Celtics Friday night

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There may be longer-term issues with his right knee, but for now Carmelo Anthony is only going to miss one game.

Anthony will be in the starting lineup Friday night when New York takes on the Celtics in Boston, coach Derek Fisher announced.

Anthony is averaging 22.9 points and 6.6 rebounds a game, and the Knicks offense is 15 points per 100 possessions better when he plays. Which is to say, they need him.

Anthony missed one game, a Knicks loss to San Antonio despite the fact the Knicks rested Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. The Knicks have now lost 10 in a row and are just 4-20 on the season. With ‘Melo, Boston is about as winnable a game as there is for these Knicks.

Anthony’s played through a sore knee all season, which is part of the reason for the slow start. With the Knicks play has come infighting, reports of players not liking the triangle system, Derek Fisher looking like a first year coach and just an impressively high level of dysfunction. Friday word leaked that Anthony would be open to a trade — something both he and his agent quickly denied. Which is good, because with that contract good luck moving to a team any better than the Knicks. At least in the short term.

Kobe Bryant could pass Michael Jordan on all-time scoring list Friday


Just 31 more points.

After scoring 32,292 points in his career, Kobe Bryant just needs 31 more to pass Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list. He could do that Friday night in San Antonio (although if Kawhi Leonard is cleared to play as expected it will be tough). If not then Kobe will almost certainly pass MJ Sunday in Minnesota.

Kobe tried to downplay it, as he often does when it comes to comparisons with him and Jordan — even though Kobe has clearly patterned a lot of his game, and how he works off the court as a professional and leader, off Jordan. Of course, Kobe said what mattered was the rings, not the accolades.

But becoming No. 3 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list has to rank high on Kobe’s long list of personal accomplishments.

It speaks to a long career played at a very high level, a carer where virtually every team he was on leaned on him (even this year at age 36 coming off a couple serious surgeries). It speaks to a lot of time in the gym, time in the weight room, time in the training room to get your body through 19 NBA seasons and still be playing at an elite level. It speaks to a ridiculous level of dedication to the game, to his craft.

It doesn’t say he’s better than Michael. He’s not. Phil Jackson said Kobe trained harder than MJ, maybe so, but he’s not better.

However, it’s also not an easy comparison, something Kobe told Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“I’ve had to be a point guard and shooting guard,” Bryant said. “I was always very jealous of him having Scottie Pippen. It’s much more frustrating for a natural scorer to wear both hats. In our games and our development, I’ve had to play more of point guard role, particularly in those first three championships with Shaq, which is not a natural thing for me.”

We as fans always want to compare and rank — was Shaq better than Kareem, or Wilt, or Bill Russell? It’s arbitrary and ultimately moot, but it’s part of the fun of talking and enjoying sports (and it’s just human nature to rank things).

But sometimes we need to put that aside and just savor the great things we do get to witness. Kobe is one of the games all-time great players, a guy with impeccable footwork, a great basketball IQ, a gift for getting to his spots on the floor, and a guy who worked as hard as anyone ever has in the game to polish his craft. He shoots a lot, but he’s still someone you have to watch, even now.

As Kobe passes MJ we should just celebrate that and what Kobe Bryant has given us over the years. We’re going to miss him when he’s gone.